Trees

The value of trees to the townscape needs no emphasis. One has only to note the benefit to the appearance of a slum street even if it is only decorated by martyred plane trees. How much greater the benefit when the trees are set off by grass below them, we only need to look around us to see. We are particularly fortunate in having wide road verges giving such a pleasant aspect to the estate.

The trees on the estate fall into three main groups. Firstly the trees on the Burdett- Coutts Estate which are present in the Holly Lodge Gardens and in Robin Grove. The Cedar Garden has been incorporated in its entirety and the Cedars are still quite magnificent.

Secondly, we have the trees planted when the estate was developed in 1927. Although, some may argue that the developer chose the wrong trees, he must be forgiven because of the amount of space he was prepared to devote to both trees and lawns.

The limes in Hillway now some 70 years old, would have grown far too large to be manageable and they are now pruned quite regularly The labumums, which have been planted, are unsuitable trees in that their shape is inartistic and they are only attractive for a short period. We are replacing these gradually with white beams and other species. Only one tree of botanical merit seems to have been planted by the developer and that is the Maidenhair (Ginko Biloba) on the roundabout at the top of Hillway This is probably the third best specimen of this tree in the country only being surpassed at Oxford and Kew.

The last trees to be mentioned are those planted on the east side of the estate against the cemetery wall. The high cemetery wall was a safeguard against grave robbing, ended by the Anatomy Act of 1832. The plane trees were planted probably as a screen against the sight of the tombs and graves, many people finding it unpleasant constantly to be reminded of their mortality It was unfortunate that the plane tree was chosen although it certainly produces a first-class summer screen, growing to an enormous size.

The plot-owners have a special responsibility to each other to maintain their gardens, as the maintenance of their gardens in good condition adds very considerably to the appearance of the Estate and so contributes to the general well-being of everyone. lt is advisable to avoid excessive areas of concrete; keeping lawns in trim lends a note of smartness. There is also a tendency to allow hedges to overgrow the footpaths, and this destroys the regularity of vistas. We would also like each plot-owner to feel some responsibility for the tree in front of his propeny, not only when new trees are planted, running the risk of vandalism, and shortage of water, but to report any general damage to a tree, broken branches and the like, with which our gardeners could help.

Plot-owners appreciate the debts that we owe to the past and realise that these created new responsibilities lor the future. An important and sometimes expensive part of the Estate Committees work is maintaining its appearance, and consequently the value of the Estate, but above all, preserving the pleasure of living under such excellent conditions so near the centre of the metropolis.